Sunday 5 July 2015

M.C. Kids (NES review)

Developer: Virgin Interactive
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Released: 1992

M.C. Kids (or McDonaldland in Europe) is a platformer and a licensed game for the McDonald's fast food chain. 

It has seven worlds and your mission is to retrieve the stolen Magic Bag from the Hamburglar. Unlike other platformers you can't jump on enemies; instead your form of attack is picking up blocks and throwing them. The game's main gimmick is that certain platforms allow you to travel to its underside and defy gravity. To do this you need to find a ledge that has a spinner and run at it with momentum. The heart counter in the top-left signifies how many hits you can take before losing a life. The only way to top up your hearts is to either hit several enemies with one block or take out ten of them in a level. It's a unique and interesting mechanic that forces you to think about making the most of your surroundings. In each world you must collect a certain number of hidden cards to progress to the next. This encourages you to explore every part and it's fun for a while. Although the level design isn't too inspiring and the enemies are dull the gameplay is good in short bursts. While it starts off gently the action gets tricky by the fourth world with speedy enemies and parts where you have no choice but to take a leap of faith. At times it feels more of a puzzle-platformer as some levels task you with influencing the environment by filling in empty blocks to access different areas. The final world is brutal with lava that instantly kills you and mechanical platforms that you must control. There's only one boss battle in the whole game which is disappointing as it takes place at the very end. The Euro style music is excellent and a lot of the tracks wouldn't sound out of place on the Amiga.

M.C. Kids is an interesting game that offers something a little bit different to other NES platformers. If it had some variety and more boss battles it could have been a classic but as it stands it's more of a pleasant experience than anything else.

Random trivia: The game was also ported to the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Boy and PC.

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